That Spicy Chick

Spicy Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup

This Spicy Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup is super hearty and filling, and chockfull of feel good and wholesome ingredients like corn, black beans, rice, and sweet peppers! It’s also naturally gluten-free, creamy (without using any heavy cream), and deliciously spicy and comforting! Homemade tortilla chips recipe included!

Two bowls of creamy Mexican soup with toppings - avocado slices, coriander, and cheese. Spoons and scattered tortilla chips on the side on top of a blue background

Ok, I know it’s technically not soup season anymore now that we’re racing towards summer here. But just hear me out, okay?

A few months ago, I was in Salt Lake City, Utah for the Everything Food Conference. And on the very last day of the conference, they served the BEST Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup I’d had in my whole entire life!!

Well up until then at least. And up until I made my own super delicious, hearty, spicy, and actually good-for-you Spicy Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup! 😍

Pot of red soup surrounded by bowl of tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, avocado, coriander springs, and lime slices

HERE’S WHAT WE HAVE GOING ON:

  • Shredded Chicken: The chicken breasts are cooked in the soup itself so you don’t have to fuss with too many THOUSANDS of dishes to wash up after cooking the soup!
  • A killer tasty, spicy and creamy soup broth: It’s made with mostly everyday ingredients. And you probably already have them on hand or in your pantry already! (I did!) And it’s also made with single cream, not heavy cream. So you’re getting a creamy and comforting soup without the extra calories and fat! 🙌
  • Plenty of feel good and filling ingredients: think corn, black beans, diced sweet peppers, and aromatics like garlic, onion, and fresh red and green chilies. YUUUUM! There’s also a touch of lime juice in there too, so you really are getting the world of flavors in a bowl here! 😍
  • Rice – yep, we’re making this a One Pot Wonder with all your carbs, protein, and veggies in one (well…) pot! Duh.
  • Crunchy and golden crisp HOMEMADE tortilla chips! Ok, fine. So these are not made in the soup pot, and you actually have a two pot wonder here. 🙄 BUT BUT BUT! You can actually make the tortilla chips a couple of days in advance. As long as you store them in an airtight container, you’re good to go my friend!
  • And TOPPINGS GALORE!!! Cooling sour cream, shredded cheddar, avocado slices, lime wedges, and freshly chopped coriander. By the way, if you are one of those people who think that coriander tastes like soap, you and I can sadly never ever be best friends. But I will not at all judge you in the slightest if you want to swap the coriander for chopped spring onion (scallions) instead! 😉. In fact, I will give you full credit for that stroke of pure genius-ness.
Spoon resting on top of the side of a bowl of creamy red soup with black beans, topped with coriander avocado slices and cheddar cheese

MY FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT THIS HEARTY SOUP

What I truly adore about this soup is that it’s so darn simple to make! It really is a dump-in-pot-and-let-the-stovetop-do-the-magic cooking situation here. There is actually very little active you-doing-the-cooking time involved.

soup bubbling in pot

Apart from the one little step that is shredding the chicken with two forks, you really can just bounce from the kitchen and go watch an episode of Friends, or Seinfeld, or The Office. Or whatever other sitcom is the jam of you kids these days!

Shredded chicken on chopping board with two forks

Then you can come back to a delicious smelling kitchen, shred the chicken while the rice cooks, and add the chicken right back into the pot!

Shredded chicken being added to pot of bubbling soup on the stovetop

Viola! Presto! That’s it, you’re done, and get ready to eat!

And did I mention that everything in the soup is cooked in ONE POT!?! Even the chicken breasts are cooked in the soup itself! One pot = less cleanup people. We can both do our happy-girl-(or boy)-dance now! 💃

Bowl of soup topped with avocado slices, cheddar cheese, a lime slice, and tortilla chips surrounding the bowl

However, I must admit that there’s one catch here. As mentioned above, the tortilla chips (which are a topping for the soup) are cooked in a separate small and shallow pot. The reason is because I found that cooking them in the large Dutch oven first (before cooking the soup in it too) doesn’t allow them to get crisp enough since the pot is so wide. And that causes the oil to spread in a flat layer. You want to use about 2-3 TBLS of oil in a small pot so that the oil is not on a flat layer and you can shallow fry the tortilla strips and get them nice and golden, and crispy and crunchy! However, you are also welcome to buy tortilla chips in a bag at the supermarket and use them if you prefer. 👌

Also, can we just stop and take a minute to talk about the AMAZING tasting leftovers? This soup tastes even BETTER the next day because the flavors intensify! So it’s really just perfect for meal prep! I love, love, LOVE making a big batch and then having some warming, vibrant, bold-flavored, spicy and filling soup ready to go for lunch or dinner over the next few days! ❤️❤️❤️

Bowl of Mexican chicken soup topped with corn, black beans, avocado slices, cheese, and a lime slice, with tortilla chips around the bowl

SHORTCUTS & PRO-TIPS:

  • Use store-bought rotisserie chicken: Buy a rotisserie chicken on your way home from work and shred the meat with two forks. This way you don’t have to wait for the chicken to cook through in the soup itself and can add it to the pot when you add everything else in step 2 (except the rice). Simmer for 5 minutes and then add the rice. Then just cook until the rice is is soft and fully cooked, then serve!
  • Use leftover chicken: You can also use leftover shredded chicken if you have some in your fridge/freezer. Thaw it in the fridge first if frozen and then ditto the above.
  • Cook the chicken a day in advance: Another option would be to cook the chicken a day in advance by either baking or pan-frying. Just season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste, maybe add a dash of ground cayenne. Then place the chicken on top of a lightly greased foil lined baking tray and bake for 18-20 minutes, turning once halfway through, in a pre-heated oven at 175°C/350°F. Once the chicken has cooked through and is no longer pink on the inside when you pierce the thickest part of the breasts with a fork, transfer the chicken to a chopping board and shred with two forks. To pan-fry, season the chicken and cook both sides with a bit of oil in a fry pan or nonstick skillet over medium-heat on the stovetop. Once cooked, shred the chicken and you are good to go! You can store the shredded chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Or freeze it for up to three months.
  • Use store-bought tortilla chips: I’m a die-hard fan of homemade tortilla chips because I like to salt them to my taste, and some store-bought tortilla chips are just waaaay too salty for my liking! But if you have a brand you like, feel free to use it as a topping for this soup and skip making your own!
  • Make the tortilla chips in advance: You can fry the tortilla strips up to three days in advance. Just salt them once fried and store in an airtight container in a cool dry place. Do double check and make sure you’ve sealed the container properly though! Otherwise they can become a bit soft, and stale pretty quickly if exposed to air for a couple of hours. (I’ll give you three guesses to figure out who made this rookie mistake once when she was running late for a manicure and ran out of the house in a hurry. You probably only need just one guess though, right? 😉)
Bowl of Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup with toppings and coriander sprigs and sweet peppers behind the bowl

IS THIS GLUTEN-FREE?

You bet it is! Every ingredient in this spicy, bold, and delicious soup is naturally gluten-free. But I do recommend checking the ingredients label on your canned chopped tomatoes to make sure that there isn’t any hidden added gluten in it. Also, make sure to use gluten-free corn tortillas to make the tortilla chips.

Bowl of Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup with spoon and toppings. Pot of soup, coriander sprigs, sweet peppers, and sour cream in a carton surrounding the the bowl.

CAN I MAKE THIS DAIRY-FREE?

Sure! Simply just omit the cooking cream! You’ll still have a wonderful and hearty bowl of soupy goodness in front of you! And this soup tastes wonderful and is fabulous with or without the cream!

Spoon resting on top of the side of a bowl of soup topped with avocado slices and cheddar cheese. Sour cream in carton, pot of soup, and tortilla chips surrounding the bowl.

IS THIS SPICY MEXICAN CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP FREEZER FRIENDLY?

Yes, it indeed is! I recommend cooling the soup in the fridge and then transferring it to freezer safe containers. You can store the soup in the freezer for up to three months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in a pot on the stovetop, or in a dish/bowl in the microwave.

Spoon resting on top of the side of a bowl of creamy red soup with black beans, topped with coriander avocado slices and cheddar cheese

Well I hope I’ve convinced you to make this lovely Spicy Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup for dinner this week. I truly, from the bottom of my soup-loving heart hope you’ll adore it as much as I do!

And my daaaahlings, soups as delicious as this one are never out of season in my books! So go now, and enjoy! 🤗

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup in bowl with spoon and topped with avocado, cheddar cheese, and a lime slice

MORE TANTALIZING SOUPS & CHOWDERS

Looking for some more delicious soup magic? Here are a few more favorite recipes:

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Bowl of Mexican chicken soup topped with corn, black beans, avocado slices, cheese, and a lime slice, with tortilla chips around the bowl

Spicy Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup

This Spicy Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup is super hearty and filling, and chockfull of feel good and wholesome ingredients like corn, black beans, rice, and sweet peppers! It’s also naturally gluten-free, creamy (without using any heavy cream), and deliciously spicy and comforting!

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 68 1x
  • Category: Soups & Chowders
  • Method: Stovetop/Simmer
  • Cuisine: Mexican
Scale

Ingredients

For the Spicy Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup:

  • 2 Chicken Breasts (about 400g), boneless, skinless
  • 2 TBLS Olive Oil (or any other cooking oil you prefer)
  • 1 medium Red Onion (or Yellow Onion) – diced
  • 67 Garlic cloves – minced
  • 1012 Red Chilies, to taste and deseeded for less heat if you like – chopped
  • 23 Green Chilies – to taste and deseeded for less heat if you like – chopped
  • 4oz/113.5g Tri-colored Sweet Peppers (I used red, yellow, and orange. Feel free to substitute with 1 and half diced bell peppers of your choice if needed)
  • 400g Canned Chopped Tomatoes (I used Waitrose’s chopped Italian tomatoes with Olive Oil & Garlic)
  • 411g/14.5oz canned Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes (Muir-Glen preferred)
  • 3/4 cup Corn or Sweet Corn Kernels (use 1 cup if using frozen as it will settle into the cup once it defrosts and will actually end up being 3/4 cup.)
  • 1 can/15oz Black Beans – drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups/32oz Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 200ml Cooking/Single Cream
  • 1.5 cups Water
  • 2 TBLS chopped Coriander
  • 2 TBLS Tomato Paste
  • Juice of 1 freshly squeezed Lime
  • 1.5 TSP freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • 2 TSP Kosher Salt (use half the amount if using table salt), to taste
  • 1 TSP Smoked Paprika
  • 1.5 TSP Mexican Hot Chili Powder, to taste
  • 1.5 TSP ground Cayenne, to taste
  • 1.5 TSP ground Cumin
  • 1 TSP Oregano Flakes
  • 1/2 cup uncooked Medium or Long Grain Rice

For the Tortilla Chips:

  • 3 Corn Tortillas
  • 23 TBLS Olive Oil (or any other cooking oil)
  • Salt flakes, to taste

Optional Toppings:

  • Diced/Sliced Avocado
  • Sour Cream
  • Chopped Coriander
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Lime Wedges

Instructions

Prep:

  1. Prepare all the ingredients: Chop the onion, garlic, sweet peppers, and red and green chilies, and coriander. Clean and pat dry the chicken breasts with paper towels. Drain the can of black beans, rinse, and set aside. Measure out the cream, cork kernels, rice, and water, and set aside. Finally, combine all the spices in a small bowl – the freshly cracked black pepper, kosher salt, smoked paprika, Mexican hot chili powder, ground cayenne, ground cumin, and oregano flakes – and set aside.
  2. For the corn tortillas: Chop the tortillas into bite sized strips. Heat 2-3 TBLS olive oil in a small shallow pot. Once the oil is hot, as the tortilla strips and fry until golden crisp on all sides – about 3-4 minutes. Transfer the tortilla to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Once cool, transfer to an airtight storage container and add salt to taste. Cover, shake the container so that the salt distributes evenly on the chips, and set aside. (Note: The tortilla chips can be made two to three days in advance.)

For the Spicy Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and sweet peppers. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until softened, then add the garlic and red & green chilies. Sauté until fragrant – about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken breasts, fire roasted crushed tomatoes, canned chopped tomatoes, corn, black beans, low sodium chicken broth, cooking cream, water, coriander, the spices and seasonings in the bowl, tomato paste, and juice from the freshly squeezed lime. Lower the heat to medium and cover. Simmer for 18-25 minutes or until the chicken has cooked through. (Note: the time for cooking the chicken will vary depending on how thick your chicken breast pieces are).
  3. Once the chicken breasts are fully cooked and no longer pink on the inside, use tongs to carefully transfer them to a chopping board and add the rice to the soup. Shred the chicken with two forks, while stirring the soup periodically to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Transfer the chicken back to the pot and stir to combine, and simmer uncovered for the 3-5 minutes or until the rice has cooked through. Then turn off the heat.
  5. To Serve: Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top with the tortilla chips, avocado slices, sour cream, chopped coriander, cheddar cheese, and serve with extra lime wedges if desired. Feel free to add any of your other favorite toppings!

Notes

  1. If using store-bought rotisserie chicken to save time: Shred the meat with two forks. Add it to the pot when you add everything else in step 2 (except the rice). Simmer for 5 minutes and then add the rice. The soup will be done and ready to serve once the rice is fully cooked.
  2. If using leftover chicken to save time: You can also use leftover shredded chicken if you have some in your fridge/freezer. Thaw it in the fridge if frozen first. Then add it to the pot when you add everything else in step 2 (except the rice). Simmer for 5 minutes and then add the rice. The soup will be done and ready to serve once the rice is fully cooked.
  3. To save time with the tortilla chips: Feel free to use store-bought tortilla chips if you like and want to save time. Or you can make then up to three days in advance. You can also make the tortilla strips up to three days in advance. Just salt them once fried, and store in an airtight container in a cool dry place. Double check that the container is sealed properly to ensure that they stay fresh and crunchy! 
  4. To make this gluten-free: Every ingredient in the soup is naturally gluten-free, but you will need to use gluten-free corn tortillas to make the tortilla chips. I also recommend checking the ingredients label on your canned chopped tomatoes to make sure that there isn’t any hidden added gluten in it.
  5. To make this dairy-free: Omit the cooking cream. The soup tastes delicious and is fabulous with or without the cream!
  6. To freeze: Cool the soup in the fridge and then transfer it to freezer safe containers. You can store the soup in the freezer for up to three months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in a pot on the stovetop, or in a dish/bowl in the microwave.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 large bowl
  • Calories: 667
  • Sugar: 16.5g
  • Sodium: 1665.7mg
  • Fat: 29.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 11.1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 11.5g
  • Trans Fat: 0.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 72.4g
  • Fiber: 13.1g
  • Protein: 28.8g
  • Cholesterol: 50.7mg
Two bowls of Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup with spoons on the side on top of a blue background

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